Preschoolers with primary language impairment (LI) demonstrate delayed attainment of early literacy skills. As a result, these children are at increased risk for later experiencing difficulty with reading achievement. This suggests the need to broaden the focus of preschool language intervention so as to include explicit facilitation of those skills most predictive of later reading success. The objective of the proposed project is to characterize the efficacy of an innovative approach towards early literacy intervention for preschoolers with Ll. Innovative elements include use of mother-child shared storybook reading as the intervention context and the involvement of mothers as intervention agents.
Specific aims i nclude: (a) to determine the extent to which embedding early literacy cues into parent-child shared storybook reading interactions influences the early literacy skills of preschoolers with LI, and (b) in the same context, to compare the relative effects of orthographic versus phonological cues. Fifty-five mothers, and their 4-year-old children with LI, will be randomly assigned to one of three conditions (control, orthographic cues, phonological cues) based on a multi-group pretest-posttest research design. Global and discrete measures of early literacy skills will be collected for each child at pre- and posttest. Each dyad will complete a 12-week home-based book reading intervention, in which parents in the two treatment conditions embed orthographic or phonological cues into their shared reading interactions; control group parents will embed cues addressing storybook illustrations. Comparison of the three conditions using children's pre- and posttest scores on the early literacy measures will characterize intervention outcome. Additionally, exploratory analyses will be conducted to determine child characteristics that uniquely predict outcome. Results will contribute to design and implementation of more effective models of preschool language intervention, and will increase understanding of the way in which particular types of input mediate specific areas of early literacy growth.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Small Research Grants (R03)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDC1-SRB-O (22))
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Cooper, Judith
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University of Virginia
Schools of Education
United States
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Justice, Laura M; Logan, Jessica R; Damschroder, Laura (2015) Designing Caregiver-Implemented Shared-Reading Interventions to Overcome Implementation Barriers. J Speech Lang Hear Res 58:S1851-63
McGinty, Anita S; Justice, Laura M; Zucker, Tricia A et al. (2012) Shared-reading dynamics: mothers' question use and the verbal participation of children with specific language impairment. J Speech Lang Hear Res 55:1039-52
Skibbe, Lori E; Justice, Laura M; Bowles, Ryan P (2011) Implementation processes associated with a home-based phonological awareness intervention for children with specific language impairment. Int J Speech Lang Pathol 13:110-24
Justice, Laura M; Skibbe, Lori E; McGinty, Anita S et al. (2011) Feasibility, efficacy, and social validity of home-based storybook reading intervention for children with language impairment. J Speech Lang Hear Res 54:523-38
Cabell, Sonia Q; Lomax, Richard G; Justice, Laura M et al. (2010) Emergent literacy profiles of preschool-age children with specific language impairment. Int J Speech Lang Pathol 12:472-82
McGinty, Anita S; Justice, Laura M (2009) Predictors of print knowledge in children with specific language impairment: experiential and developmental factors. J Speech Lang Hear Res 52:81-97
Cabell, Sonia Q; Justice, Laura M; Zucker, Tricia A et al. (2009) Emergent name-writing abilities of preschool-age children with language impairment. Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch 40:53-66
Justice, Laura M; Bowles, Ryan P; Skibbe, Lori E (2006) Measuring preschool attainment of print-concept knowledge: a study of typical and at-risk 3- to 5-year-old children using item response theory. Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch 37:224-35